By Fitale Wari
Horns echo. Drums beat. Flutes trill. Funded in part by a grant from the Granville Community Foundation, the Denison University Wind Ensemble rehearses in Swasey Chapel in preparation for its Veterans Day Concert this Saturday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m.
Featuring a wide variety of musical selections, the performance includes patriotic favorites and its focal composition for the evening: Berlioz’s Grande Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale.
For the first time, this masterpiece will be performed in Granville, Ohio. It’s known as the “greatest work ever written for band” due to its epic and tremendous expression of pathos and celebration. Not to mention, it’s arranged by one of the best composers of the 19th century.
“Because Berlioz’s symphony is such a mammoth undertaking for wind bands, even by today’s standards, it is performed infrequently,” said Dr. Chris Westover, music professor and conductor of the Wind Ensemble at Denison University.
“This weekend’s concert is a unique opportunity to hear this rarely performed work,” he said.
Originally commissioned for a French military band, it is generally regarded as a ceremonial masterpiece honoring military heroes. The band couldn’t have thought of a better performance piece for Veterans Day.
“I’m mostly looking forward to the Berlioz,” Dr. Westover shared. “This is the third time I’ve performed the work and it is a very special piece for me.”
Students are just as excited for this weekend’s performance. In fact, they have worked diligently to bring a great performance to the community.
“I’m looking forward to sharing a profound musical experience with my students and our community,” Dr. Westover said. “The students have been working really hard on this program.”
Katie Masell, a Denison freshman and clarinet player, is clearly enjoying the experience of preparing for the concert. “Coming to Denison, I wanted to be part of community that belongs to music….[The Berlioz] is one of the more difficult pieces we play and we strove to make it sound cool.”
Freshman Ellis Dulchim, also a clarinet player, is especially excited about the program. “This concert offers a unique mix of upper echelon French romantic music that demonstrates the most embellished high-class music paired with Americana mix.”
Dr. Westover agrees, “There is something for everyone.”
All members of the community are welcome. The concert will take place at Swasey Chapel and is free to attend. Doors open at 6:20 p.m.